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Well I have just spent a pleasant few hours in the company of the oddly-named DC “DC Smith”, an interesting choice of initials for a detective constable if ever there was one. This is Frost rebooted, a gumpy old curmudgeon but with more of a human side and a considerably beefier background. There is a young protégé to add to the mix and as crime fiction so often has it the usual mix of doubting senior officers, competitive colleagues and local characters.
It would be wrong to write this one off as just another cliché though. The writing is clever and the characters are engaging. What this book also proves is that you can write a good crime novel without killing off half the local population and incorporating the worst of crimes. The central incident of this novel is an almost mundane seeming accidental drowning of a local teenager that is almost but not quite closed as just that rather than being properly investigated.
The narration by Gildart Jackson seems to fit these character to a tee. It’s not the most energetic of performances but it does breathe genuine life into the lead character. The story itself does develop significantly from its humble beginnings and the mental leap to the end from the starting mundane incident is a big one. The back story of DC Smith is also gradually revealed and he does surprise us with being quite a bit more than just another old cantankerous detective on the verge of retirement.
I liked it despite its brevity.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Best in a long time , at last a crime novel without foul language , foul language is no substitute for talent , something other writers could learn from , contrary to popular belief foul language is not common with the majority of people particularly those who are well read .
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Peter Grainger is a wonderful writer. His primary character. Detective Sergeant DS Smith is an older, former Detective Chief Inspector who now works to solve cases rather than supervise. He is interesting, smart, multi-faceted, and his interactions with his subordinate team members provide a window into his character. He's honest and a gentleman, with a unique way of looking at crimes.
I have actually read all 5 of Mr. Granger's books in this series. As with a number of other authors whose books I enjoy enough to read multiple times (Agatha Christie, PD James, Josephine Tey, Dick Francis, Jodi Taylor, Patricia Wentworth and others), I will buy his audiobooks as they become available and listen when I can't read. An excellent narrator makes for great company.
Gildart Jackson is a good choice as narrator. As everyone knows, the narrator can ruin an excellent book but that won't happen here.
For those who like classic British mysteries, I highly recommend this writer.
113 of 118 people found this review helpful
Just happened on this first in a series and had no expectations when I started reading. A very satisfying read. The primary character, DC Smith is someone I am looking forward to getting to know better. While there is still a great deal of back story to fill in, this relatively short book introduces a complex hero who takes the form of a somewhat shabby, bumbling detective, well past his prime, whom everyone hopes will retire - immediately. I was very impressed with the character development, especially the use of the grown child of an ex-partner, someone Smith first knew as a very little boy, to illustrate just how long he has been around, yet how relevant he still is.
And as usual my favorite aspect of this British police procedural suspense novel is that a wonderful mystery is presented and then solved with very little violence and with no guns. So many US mystery writers have replaced plot with gratuitous and graphic violence and endless gun battles that do nothing to move the story forward.
I thought the narrator did an excellent job!
141 of 148 people found this review helpful